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Monday, October 07, 2013

Trancehack by Sonya Clark

I was immediately drawn to TRANCEHACK when I saw its awesome cover on Netgalley. I'd never heard anything about the novel but I couldn't resist clicking on it once I saw it. And it turns out that TRANCEHACK is pretty fun. Clark describes it as a "futuristic witchpunk romance" on her website and I think this description really captures the essence of the novel. TRANCEHACK has great characters, a beautifully detailed series mythology, and a plot that will keep you on your toes.

If you know me by now, you know I love a good futuristic love story, especially if it's got any kind of magical overtones. And TRANCEHACK doesn't just have overtones -- it has what amounts to a magical ghetto, "home" to anyone with magical abilities and their offspring, whether these children are Magic Born or not. Having powers is a one-way ticket to second-class citizenry and Clark does a great job of depicting the restrictions and hardships of this lifestyle without playing on your emotions. Calla and the other Magic Born are ruled by an iron fist and there's no way to overtly rebel.

Of course, TRANCEHACK would be pretty dull if there was no conflict and Calla is definitely a rebel, though she doesn't do it by pounding her drum and yelling at The Man. Calla may do all sorts of stuff she's not supposed to -- and this is just one reason to love her -- but she does it in ways that keep her relatively safe. She's a neat character because she knows how to live within the system, even though she wants more, plus she's fiercely loyal, smart, and tough, which are traits I always enjoy in a character. She's also got a sharp tongue and enough baggage to fill a cargo hold, and she really came alive for me.

Perez is a great foil for Calla. He's not your typical alpha male. In fact, he does a lot more bending than Calla, since he's learning the rules of her world and finally really seeing the injustice in the treatment of the Magic Born. He's also trying to solve a case that someone really doesn't want solved -- at least not properly -- so he's in a few pickles. I wasn't sure I was going to like him because he acquiesces about a lot at first but dude has a backbone and really fights for his relationship with Calla, even when he's fighting Calla herself. There's a nice amount of push and pull in the relationship, and they face tangible obstacles, and I was truly invested in their HEA (even though I was pretty sure they were going to get one since this is a romance novel).

As interesting as their relationship and the mystery is, I really feel for TRANCEHACK because of the world Clark has created. You really feel the hardship and desperation that the Magic Born experience, and the idea of trancehacking is super neat. If I have one complaint about this novel, it would be that we don't get to learn enough about the magical underpinnings of the world. But it's a minor quibble and, truthfully, it's rooted in the fact that I wasn't ready for TRANCEHACK to end when I hit the final page.

If you're looking for a creative new author to try, I'd definitely recommend Sonya Clark and TRANCEHACK. There's some dystopian flavour, plus a great mystery and a strong romance, so I think this book will definitely appeal to readers of this blog. I hope you let me know what you think if you give it a shot when it comes out at the end of the month!

Read an excerpt


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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